Burning Desire to Share
A year or two? The seventieth has been my toughest so far. Cunning, baffling, powerful I think is the phrase. Bill W still had a sponsor when he died. I’m sorry that I buried the two I’ve had.
"Bill W still had a sponsor when he died."
True, his sponsor was Ebby T. He carried the message to Bill, he didn't sit around the Oxford Group meetings waiting for Bill to come in and ask him to be his sponsor. Nor did he tell Bill to call him every day, to write an essay proving his life was unmanageable, or any of the many things 'sponsors' do today. He did what the Big Book tells us to do in Chapter 7. He didn't talk down to him from any moral or spiritual hilltop, he simply laid out the kit of spiritual tools for his inspection and told Bill how they worked with him(page 95).
You seem to know a lot about what Bill's sponsor did and didn't do in the thirty seven years between 1934 and 1971.
Isn’t what you are doing the same as you are critisizing? One person deciding what is best for another. I think I’ll stick with AA’s “Questions and Answers on Sponsorship” myself.
I agree. I've "self-sponsored" for a few years now and my program has grown. I talk to AA friends and stuff but don't want or need another sponsor.
It is necessary to have a guide for the spiritual journey. Choose a master, for without one this journey is full of trials, fears, and dangers. With no escort, you would be lost on a road you have already taken. Do not travel alone on the Path. (Rumi)
The longer I am around AA, the more this makes sense to me. The master to which he refers I envision as someone embodying the principles represented by the Chinese symbols for the phrase/word "holy" - a picture of a ruler (king), an ear, and a mouth, meaning a holy person is a master of listening and speech (not master in the sense of being in control). I look for help with certain trials to "masters" within AA, and for other trials to masters without. They can help only if I am completely honest with them. That is what is currently working for me. I'll see about tomorrow after I make it through today.
"He said I was heading in the wrong direction but, he was not correct."
Of course he said that, you were crawling out from under his thumb.
In my first two years I moved around so much I wasn't in any one place long enough to get a 'sponsor' though I had many mentors. Between my third and sixth month I was in an area with no other AAs around, and a gent suggested that if I used (not read, or studied, or memorized, but used) the Big Book and a Higher Power I'd be all right. He told the truth, I used the Big Book and a Higher Power and was able to stay sober for those months, and for another ten months later on as an Internationalist with few meetings or live AA contact. By the time I settled in one place, sober two years, I didn't feel the need for someone to show me how he got sober.
Last week I celebrated 42 years unbroken AA membership and like the late Chuck C. I've never had a sponsor.
My name is brian w. I have spent thelast 24hrs hiding. the last 19 yrs in and out of the program and treatment centers. I DON'T WANT TO DRINK ANYMORE ,WHOLE HEARTEDLY AND WITH ALL OF MY EXISTANCE. What is it some screwed up destiny, I even pray now before buying or stealing it or bumming money in front of a store? How do I telll another sponsor, how do I not drink. I know what it says on p.24 and in the dr.s opinion. But how long do I have to wait top get into the steps? Why? is it because I'm wasting their time or mine? Am I not showing I want it enough, how's that? In march of 95 when i first attended a meeting og A.A. they said keep coming back and so I have. For the last 19 yrs I've done just that, I know it works I've. seen it on the faces of hundreds of others along the west coast and down in the south where I live and lived. When you pray and god says go ahead and drink it sucks, I believe in god and a divine purpose but mine just has me plain impatient with faith and hurt emotionally after all a head fullof AA and abelly full of booze has done nothingbut break my heart for a long time please pray for me friends as I begin my journey again. maybe this wil last longer than4,6,4,9,6,8,11?9? Months at a time please I beg of you pray for me that I may use this experience to stay and help others ........your forever coming back friend B. Wilson
" Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path" Chapter 5 Big Book. My sponsor's sponsor always said , when I was bellyaching about whatever and saying that I was working my program " Never mind what you are doing. What are you not doing?" That may be a good question for you to ask yourself. maybe it's time to ask a man with good sobriety to walk through the Steps with you one on one.
The last part of Step 2 in the 12 Steps and 12 tradition book talks about the alcoholic who tries hard and fails. Does any of that apply to you? Are you feeling sorry for yourself?
Put the past behind you and follow this simple program. If you want sobriety it is yours for the asking. I have stayed sober and am reasonably content for 26 years now just by taking the suggestions. i will pray for you. let us know when you get sober.
Am no expert at 20 1/2 mths sober, but just want to say, my friend,..."I hear you & will pray for you? Maybe you have to think simply "1 minute" at a time.....not hourly or daily.......change is TOUGH, but misery is worse for me. Good Luck!
What are doing when you are in front of the liquor store bumming for money, buying alcohol, or stealing it? What I'm asking is what are you thinking when you are there? Why don't you call your sponsor if you have one, go to a meeting, or why not get your sponsor to help you work the steps. Its a simple program for complicated minds.
As far as your higher power goes, you haven't found one yet of your understanding. Mine has saved my life, of course I had to do the work; but God answered my problems. God may have not given me what I wanted but what I needed. Only a friendly message.
My second step cleared up some of the problems you are having. My Higher Power gives me (and everyone) free will. Absolute free will. If we choose to drink ourselves to death that's our choice. If we choose to get sober that is too. He is different from Santa Claus. He does not hand out gifts of sobriety from a sack in his sleigh. He doesn't care how many people gang up and ask for Brian's sobriety, or mine. He has helped me get and stay sober. I have to be in a condition to receive that help. I have to learn who I am. What shortcomings I have. What useless tools I have been using to try to get through life. I practiced long and hard to get my life in the mess it was in. Step three is MADE A DECISION.. Read it. Immediately following are instructions of how to do exactly that. I don't recall seeing anything about having a sponsor carry us through them. It has worked for millions of us. You have been given everything you need. It doesn't look like waiting for what you want has been helpful.
I'm glad you are back! my sobriety date is aug 13, 1992. prior to 1992 I spent a few years going to meetings between inpatient treatment centers. After my last drink on 8/13/92, I finally admited I was powerless over alcohol. I became willing to work the 12 steps as a daily program of recovery. I use and still use the big book and 12x12 as a guidline to working the steps.
I have witnessed many, many alcoholics in your situation over the years. Alcoholics who where able to simply put the plug in the jug and stop drinking, share what worked for them. They are not as alcoholic as you and I. I could never stay sober by meetings and prayer. the 12 steps showed me a was to continued sobriety that has worked for many chronic alcoholics. faith without works is dead, and how true for the alcoholic who fails to enlarge his spiritual life.
Anyway, sounds like you have tried everything but working the steps. If you had you would know that working with another alcoholic always gets us out of ourselves and relieves our mental obsesson with alcohol. If you haven't worked the steps, it's hard to have a concrete solution to share with others.
Good luck to you and may God give you the courage to work the steps of AA.
I am in the same place as Brian. I have tried so many times to stay sober and failed over and over again. At one point, I had a good sponsor and was "working" the steps, or so I thought. Yet, I drank again. Your comment made me realize I have never fully worked the steps, not really. Now that I am trying to get back into AA I find it frustrating when people say "Don't drink and go to meetings." I don't know how to not drink, even and especially in between meetings! People tell me to pray for God to keep me sober. I do that and I still end up drinking. People say call another alcoholic. I do that, and I still find myself drinking. People say "call your sponsor." Yet, I am so ashamed of my inability to stop drinking that I am ashamed to call my sponsor. And, truth be told, I am afraid to go back to my home group yet again and begin my "day count" all over again. How insidious this disease is!
Your suggestion about God not being like Santa Claus is very helpful advice. Intellectually, I know this-I have several advanced degrees in theology, none of which have kept me sober. Yet, my "professional" God is not my personal God and I realize that I have been approaching God like Santa Claus, hoping to get "struck sober" someday. Your response to Brian has given me a lot to think about and has given me some hope that if I try and work the steps to the best of my ability, then perhaps I can stay sober this time.
What exactly is it about "don't pick up the first drink" that you cannot grasp? Much of your rant seems to be an effort to rationalize your continued drinking. If whatever god you are praying to answers (apart from concerns I would have over your hearing voices) and tells you to drink, then maybe you should stop praying and just start doing what is suggested: don't drink and keep coming back. You may not have heard that part of the equation. It was suggested to me that I get involved with service work, which initially meant making coffee, taking out garbage, helping clean up around the meeting hall. Between meetings and service work, I got a little break from the chorus of voices in my head, voices that likely were a function of my body screaming for the substance I was physically and psychologically dependent on - alcohol. It takes discipline to break old habits and develop new ones, and it took me two or three meetings per day plus service work to break my cycle of drinking, while the steps then allowed me to figure out how to stay sober and enjoy life without booze.
"What exactly is it about "don't pick up the first drink" that you cannot grasp?"
For a long time before AA found me I tried the 'don't pick up the first drink' bit. If I had been able to not pick up the first drink I wouldn't need AA, I could quit and stay stopped.
That being said, though the Big Book stresses prayer as being necessary for recovery, it's main theme is recovery through the Twelve Steps. Yes, some do stay away for booze without the steps, but they seem to be the ones who can 'just don't drink and go to meetings. Brian sounds like the type who needs the steps more than the just don't drink advice.
I pray to God to help me better understand his will for me and the power to carry that out. POWER is key. It means I have to be fearless. To walk through the darkness with full faith that God has my back. He/she/it has yours to Brian. Ask your sponsor/get a sponsor, go to meetings, you know the drill. Sending lots of hugs your way.
My sponsor meant the world to me. My first hero in AA. I worked the steps with him. He knew my dark secrets. However, cancer got the best of him. He was given a few months to live. One day, I went to see him at his house and his wife said he started drinking. I was shocked. I ran straight out of the house and never saw him again. I was disappointed at first because he meant so much to so many people over the last 25 years. I thought he was being selfish. Now I feel horrible, because I abandoned a true friend. I failed AA because I was not responsible. His calls went straight to my voicemail. What a lousy example of friendship I was to him. I read once that the nurse on duty documented in the night log that the founder of AA asked for a drink in the end. I thought who cares at that point. My sponsor has returned to his God and he will have permanent sobriety in heaven. I guess in that condition its okay to drink because sobriety is for the living not the dead. Has anyone dealt with this before? I feel so guilty. I haven't apologized to his wife yet. I just can't face her now. Thanks
Yea, what the heck. What value is ones sobriety at that point? I hope a decision like that never arrives at my door. I'm sure your sponsors good deeds tremendously outweighed his final days of drinking. It's not like he returned to his drunken past. He returned to God with a smile on his face. Perhaps its a good lesson to not idolize people in the program because misfortune touches the good as well.
I am new to the life of sobriety but the things I've read, heard and experienced life of sobriety is a challenge sick or in good health.
I have not experienced something like that but if it were me I would find the time and speak with her I'm sure his wife would like to hear from you and would understand .
I fired my first sponsor because of his drinking. He died of alcoholism a few years later. The good he gave me far outweighed the bad he did to me, although I felt very angry (like you) at the time.. His death burned into me the fact of alcoholism's being cunning, baffling and powerful. Most people with alcoholism die from it. The fact that he or others attend AA doesn't change that unless they pick up the tools and use them.
My second sponsor and two other sober peers died from cancer at about 30 years sober. I guess they showed that it can be done.
I suppose people stay sober (or don't) for a number of reasons.
Some to stop the consequences of drinking.
Others because they can accept that drinking absolutely stopped working for them(if it ever did)and there was no reason to do something that didn't work.
A third type stop because it looks bad not to.
I guess we all share some of the three. The last is most precarious because it requires someone else's expectations to live up to.
What do the three have in common? Reasons won't keep me sober, I need a method to accomplish it. For me it is AA's twelve steps. If I continue to use them, I will continue to see that alcohol simply doesn't work for me and there is no reason to reach for it, living or dying.
If we step back from today's AA's obsession with marking time and collecting medallions, what really happened? He was very ill, drinking wasn't apt to cause the damage it does in normal circumstances. He reached out for something which used to work, maybe still did.
The Higher Power that I believe in doesn't require that all slates must be clean, all accounts in order when someone passes. People who died when I was a mess or in a temporary fit of anger don't spend and eternity locked in conflict with me. You had a reasonable expectation that wasn't met. You felt angry. You acted on it. It's over. You learned from it. Move on.
life's too short to worry, and at the same time life is too short to not have courage. I have made many mistakes in my life, especially with my father. I resented him for many years, until he almost died of a heart attack. then he had to have a triple bypass, and I only got to see him for twenty minutes. I walked in gave hima hug and told him I loved him. That was the most courage I had at that point. He did well after, and we get along fine now. So don't worry, I'm sure their not going to boot you. it's better to say something than nothing.
My mother, also is "terminal" right now, stage 4 cancer. However, she's not alcoholic, so she is not thinking about drinking or killing her self sooner.
I know today that: "it is normal for an alcoholic to drink"
Sobriety is not normal for us. I also believe that Bill W. was asking for a drink, the day he died (some people choose not to believe it).
Let's not forget that "no one among us have been able to maintain perfect adherence to these principals. We are not saints... & we claim spiritual progress, not perfection"
We place too much high value on "sobriety quantity."
We ought to place "SOBRIETY QUALITY" at higher value.
Don't be so hard on your sponsor. I'm sure he taught you to be grateful for what we do get.
The book says: "Grant him the love & tolerance you would grant a sick friend."
We still have the message. It has been the same for 75 years. What has been lost is the method in
which the message is passed on to others.
I haven't lost it. It's spelled out perfectly from page 89 through page 103 in a chapter entitled Working with Others.
I am serving in the military in Afghanistan on my 3rd deployment to a combat zone. I hear alot of guys talk about how they "can't wait to get home a have a drink" because of stressful this experience can be at times. My first two times deploying that was the case for me to, I claimed to my naysayers that drinking was "the only way I knew how to relax" after having been in combat. I have over a year of sobriety now and am so grateful to my Higher Power that I am not fanatisizing about that drink when I, God willing, go back home in one piece. I even tried to start a meeting over here, on my FOB of over 3000 people via mass e-mail. One DOD contractor showed up to my meeting and it was such a relief to know there was someone else like me out here so far from home. Just wanted to share.
May God bless you and keep you till you return home.
No one is Drunk Proof working the program
we Become Drunk Resistant God Bless
I am very confident in my level of Drunk Resistance and I DO NOT discount the fact that I will never be "DRUNK PROOF" but I know that right now, far from home, I am not fanatisizing about drinking when I get back from Afghanistan and I thank God for that and keep working to do the next right thing for my sobriety, my family, and my soldiers.
No one is Drunk Proof working the program
we Become Drunk Resistant God Bless
God bless and hang in there! I'd be honored to have a "virtual meeting" one of these days.
I love that you took the effort to start a meeting there! And that one person responded is a blessing for both of you.
I am so grateful for you and those like you, in and out of A.A. for their personal sacrifices of time and effort to help others achieve freedom whether the oppressor be human or alcohol. Thank you for being here (there) for me.
Thank you for your support! God bless!
I served in the 70's but, was not sober. There was a guy in my unit who talked about alcoholism and he had one year of sobriety. He was following some kind of beautiful light, which seemed to never shine on me. He was the first to plant the sober seed. From that point on every time I woke up with a hangover I wondered if I was an alcoholic. I don't know what happened to him but, I remember he used to say that all he had to do was to stay sober for one day. He said no matter what happened to him, if he stays sober, his life was meaningful. I know his sobriety was to me. After discharge, I tried what he suggested but failed often to stay sober for that one day he talked about. Eventually, his words clinked and I realized I wasn't functioning or adjusting in society and it was because I was a sick person. I turned myself over for help. Jails, the "flight decks" and the DWI's convinced me how sick I was. I went to a VA hospital and they treated me for PTSD and alcoholism. I've been sober since one day at a time. Why I'm sober today while others died I can't answer that except that sober guy in my unit had a hand in it. Your life is meaningful and I think you know it and that's the hope we bring to anyone suffering with this disease.
The ground my family lives on in the middle of the United States has been untouched by war for over one hundred and thirty years because of the commitment of America's warriors. Thank you.
I joined AA in '79 with veterans recovering from their tour in south east Asia. Some recovered, some didn't. Those who were able to deal with their alcoholism were able to put the horrors of war behind them and move on to successful education, careers, families -life. Others only got as far as a bar stool at a veterans club. This is America, they have a right to do that. I wasn't there, I don't judge them. The rewards were far better for those able to move on.
Small world. A DOD contractor at our group disappears for a few months at a time and come back with good tan. Great guy.
September 30th will be my first honest year sober. After struggling for seven hard years! Just want to say how happy and sober and clean life is with God in my life. AA has saved this drunks life and has givin hope back.
congrats it took me the same time to get a year...
Every day an alcoholic stays sober is a good one. Glad you were given ten months strung together and hope you enjoy many more. Those days strung together are good, the ones that aren't consecutive are good too. If I'm not drunk,calling in sick, drunk and driving, drunk and destroying my family it's a good day regardless of what happened the day before or after.
The result of making time count is better than the result of counting time.
th@ is the subject.
my name is Sam and I am a grateful recovering alcoholic. I feel that my landlord is trying to separate me from AA. She has been trying to be my higher power since I moved into this building. She tries to run my life. She really scares me. I thought this apartment building was just an apartment building when I applied to live here. Another resident here told me that the landlord of this apartment building used to run a half way house. I think she is trying to run this building as if it were a half way house which it is not. She tries to supervise my life. I feel she is trying to prevent me from participating in AA because AA is something she cannot control and she wants me under her control as if I were her property. She wants to be my everything. She wants to be my higher power and will stop at nothing. She has even intercepted my mail from AA and opened it. I am grateful to be sober in AA. I plan to move out of this apartment building as soon as possible. Thank you for letting me share. Sam, grateful recovering alcoholic
We are powerless over people too. I don't allow others to rent space in my head either. However the mail thing is kind of creepy, I would sue the person if they did that to me. That's invasion of your privacy. But do what you think is best. Oh and no one can force you to stop going to AA.
If she thinks she wants to your everything, just tell her you already have someone who does that for you. if she asks who you can say it is secret and special
Thanks for checking in with us. Sorry you are having a hassle.
When challenges come up in my sobriety it seems to take f-o-r-e-v-e-r for the solution to come, but they come and it keeps getting better just like we are promised.
I used the serenity prayer for years and waited to be made fearless. Wait a minute, I didn't ask to be made fearless, I asked for courage - taking action even if I feared the outcome. I tried it. It worked. My Higher Power thinks it's a slap in the face to be asked for courage and assume He won't provide it. He does provide it. He cannot not provide it. He's God.
isn't it a federal offence to tamper with the united states postal service?
I have one year nine months and twenty five days today. My sobrity was court ordered. I dont have a sponser bec oouse i dont work the steps. I havetalked to people and they seem to think imm not gonna make it bc i dont work the normal aa program. I do realaize that. I am a alcoholic and i can not have the firsy drink without going down the same path of almost thirty years. I go to meeting to help keep that realality in my head. I often think it would help tp have a sort of sponsor to talk to but not have there program pushed on me
I have seen people old timers some of them 30 yrs. + sober living a miserable live because they did not do the steps of recovery. The 12 steps of recovery is not to change you but to make you better person. If a curtain is closed you cannot see through it or if a window is dirty it is difficult to see through. Therefore in the same instance we pick up a lot of bad habits during our drinking the 12 steps is assist to clear the bad habits ( Open the Curtin ) so we can have direct contact with our higher power. So it is therefore suggested we do the 12 steps of recovery and the main object is to get a power greater than yourself. Also note being miserable will lead to going back to your old ways and eventually getting drunk again. To prevent this start with one step at a time you will see as you go along a weight is lifted from your shoulder and life gets better and easier to live.
You said, "The 12 steps of recovery is not to change you but to make you better person." True and they work for some people, however they are not the only way to make one a better person. If they made you a better person I'm happy for you. I didn't need the steps to learn how to be a better person because my mother instilled in me all the necessary ingredients years ago. When I came into the rooms and sobered up I focused my recovery on love and unselfishness. There is this misconception in the rooms and that is "If someone is not working the steps they are doing nothing and are against them." Thanks
Are you addicted to alcohol? If so, its a good idea to not pick up the first drink. We are not saints in AA although some members think they are. You mentioned being sober one year nine months; seems like something is working. Not everyone gets sober the same way. I haven't said a prayer in twenty years. The Fellowship of AA does not have rules about bullying people into sponsorship, reading books or praying. Read the Preamble. All we are asked to do is share what helps up individually. Believe it or not your post today helped me. That's the same magic Bill and Bob discovered. If your meetings are wacky try to find another one. There are other people like you in the same boat. Not everyone likes to be a robot. There are suggestions in the rooms but, certain members do not know the difference between a suggestion and a commandment. Pat yourself on the back mate and avoid know-it-all's.
AA was a gift to me. It took my worthless life that was quickly going down the drain and gave me hope, meaning & purpose.
Meetings were a gift. They gave me a port in a storm and what I had been looking for in the bars; friendship, fellowship, meaningful conversation, sociability, laughter, fun, support & love.
My sponsors over the years have been a gift. We gave each other permission to talk deeper than we might at a meeting and to be more honest with each other. They had my permission to call me on things that might pass at meeting level. And they shared their experience with working the steps and making the steps a way of life.
The steps were a gift to me. They led me inside to uncover, discover and discard the things that had ruled me since I was a child such as my shyness, fear of people, my hypochondria and resentments regarding what life had given me or not given me. The steps led me on a journey of discovery about myself, other people and my Higher Power/Higher Purpose.
My Higher Power has been a gift. In AA I found a Power greater than myself or alcohol that has miraculously removed from me the desire/obsession/compulsion to drink. Though I do not follow a particular religion or believe in a conventional type of God, I still seek and am open minded. I have friends of every religious and spiritual stripe including atheists and agnostics and am able to listen, learn and converse.
For me, the ultimate expression of my HP and our 12th step is Love. And the ultimate expression of Love is service to others with no thought of reward for ourselves. We see this EVERY day in AA. That is the Ultimate gift.
Keep coming back!!
Are u suggesting that if I work the steps as suggested I am a robot? It sounds like your mind is as closed as those u say give commandments
No of course not. Look deeper-Think about what a robot is.
Bill W. talked about the language of the heart. Robots don't have hearts. They are obedient to their masters. There are no masters in AA. A robot can be programed but, can a robot love? A robot can talk the walk. But the true essence of recovery cannot be programed.